Tuesday, 22 May 2018


Though I’d venture that the US has been undergoing its moment of constitutional crisis since installing a morally and financially bankrupt television reality show host and allowing his syndicate family to capture a purchase in government that will be a challenge to excise from their greedy, self-absorbed little hands, and though nothing comes as a surprise anymore in a world dilated by Trumpian times, this latest assault against justice and the primacy of law is pretty chilling.
Backed into a corner, Trump is trying to dismantle and discredit the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling by sewing the suggestion of partisanship behind it (isonomy is the principle that the law applies equally to all and that no one is above it), masking his own treason of unqualified narcissism that even bullying himself into a leadership role and its subsequent abdication of the responsibility that goes with it cannot even sate. Others in government and international observers know it’s the refuge of autocrats to pervert justice for their own gain and to silence dissent but those in a position to do something to reign in Trump are far too deep in the pockets of the lobbyists to speak up and the international community is recognising the fecklessness of faded power and influence. Omission and tacit-approval are indeed how the inviolable is violated.

Monday, 21 May 2018

playbill and pressbook

Though honoured and acknowledged throughout his career that spanned seven decades and intersected with the canon of every major producer, director and actor in Hollywood, the name Bill Gold, who passed away over the weekend at age 97, may not register for many though his signature style as the public face of cinema’s coming-attractions most certainly will be instantly recognisable. Establishing himself with a commission to do the publicity posters for Yankee Doodle Dandy in 1942, Gold created thousands of display materials for the box-office and bill-board, most prolific during the 1970s and 1980s—though coming out of semi-retirement to design posters for Mystic River and J. Edgar. Read a retrospective and sample a gallery of more of Gold’s iconic work at this American Film Institute profile from 2016.

homage to the square

Artist and educator Josef Albers (1888* - 1976†) joined the Bauhaus movement (previously) and was celebrated in both the Weimar and the Dessau camps matriculating new members into the principles of handcrafts and was promoted to a full professorship and collaborated with artists like Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky with furniture designs and glassworks, until the artistic cooperative was forced to disperse under pressure from the ascendant Nazi government. Albers immigrated to America and was sponsored by Black Mountain College of North Carolina, offered a teaching position at the new school of arts.
Perhaps best known for his series of mediations, studies—numbering in the hundreds like this “Homage to the Square: Unexpected Turn” (1959) or “Saturated” (1962) that he executed with a palette knife and meticulous recorded the pigments, Albers was completely given to teaching, owing that institutionalised no one was an artist or master and that all were learners and developed an influential treatise on the theory of colour (available as an app) as well as developing the foundational curriculum for the discipline which is now called graphic design.

artists & repertoire

Via Present /&/ Correct, we are introduced to graphic designer and illustrator Regan Ray who carefully curates and shares some of the material he turns towards for inspiration, including catalogues of labels, imprints and logos, like these vintage ones from the recording industry. Be sure to check out Ray’s commissions and collections at the links above.

going native, going naïve

In a surprising experimental set-up that could possibly pose a challenge—and surely many nuances—to the commonly-held theory that memories and learned behaviour resides in the strength of the synapses (sort of a non-space, a gap when one thinks about it), researchers found that non-coding ribonucleic acid (RNA) transplanted from an acclimated snail to a non-acclimated, naïve snail can seemingly carry and impart training from one to the other.
Long term memories may have an epigenetic—the way the expressions of genes are regulated—component to them, while many are sceptical of the experiments claims, which makes sense to a degree on a chemical level as the transplanted RNA would be primed to encode for a stress-reaction and maybe such primal responses are meant to be contagious and empathetic regardless of direct exposure. No snails were harmed in this experiment but the technique and theory behind it references the research conducted by biologist and animal psychologist James V McConnell in the 1950s and 1960s in which flatworms were trained to solve a maze and then fed to untrained individuals who seemed to take on the knowledge and experience of those they’d just incorporated. Made into fodder for speculative fiction, McConnell’s unorthodox beliefs in the nature and fungibility of memory also made him on the targets of the Unabomber in the mid-1980s, surviving the attack but suffering hearing-loss.